ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday accepted written apologies submitted by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, former IG Kaleem Imam, Advocate General for Punjab (AGP) Ahmed Awais and Maneka family close aide Ahsan Jamil Gujjar in Pakpattan District Police Officer (DPO) Rizwan Gondal’s transfer case.
The suo motu proceedings against Buzdar have also been dropped.
The top court had earlier in the day directed the respondents to submit written apologies as it resumed hearing of the case.
The apologies were accepted by the apex court under the condition that “such an incident would not occur again”.
“If [such a thing] happens again this case will be reopened,” Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar remarked.
A three-member bench of the top court headed by CJP Nisar had previously taken a suo motu notice of Gondal’s transfer after allegations that he was involved in a quarrel with Khawar Maneka, the former husband of the first lady.
During the hearing earlier on Monday, Punjab advocate general (AG) urged the court to view the issue from a ‘different perspective’ but CJP Nisar observed that facts do not change with a change in perspective.
“The matter was sensitive hence Ahsan Jamil Gujjar spoke with the Punjab chief minister,” said the advocate general.
CJP Nisar remarked that Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Usman Buzdar had not spoken to Jamil but had sent a person who was not a government official to speak with him.
“What kind of language have you and Punjab CM used for National Counter-Terrorism Authority (Nacta) chief Maher Khaliq Dad Lak Khaliq Dad Lak ? You are writing this for an excellent officer,” the CJP remarked.
CJP Nisar further remarked that he could direct authorities to form a Joint Investigation team (JIT) to probe the matter.
“The prime minister has said that Usman Buzdar will continue as the Punjab CM till the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is in power. Let the court make it clear; Buzdar will continue as CM only if the court orders the same,” the CJP elaborated.
The top judge also expressed frustration at the inability of the respondents to express regret over the incident.
“What exactly changed about the DPO that he was transferred in the mid of the night?” the CJP asked.
“I am sorry for my mistake and leave myself on the mercy of the court,” responded former Punjab inspector general of police (IGP) Kaleem Imam.
“Use strong words to seek forgiveness,” responded the CJP, directing Imam, Jamil and Buzdar to submit written apologies.
“Is this the government that wants to create naya [new] Pakistan?”
The respondents in the case submitted their apologies before the court soon after.
Khawar Maneka had allegedly lost his cool and reportedly abused police officers when they intercepted his car around 1 am on August 23.
After news of the senior police officer’s ‘transfer’ had gone viral on social media and drew people’s ire, Punjab IGP Kaleem Imam in a statement had denied that DPO Gondal was removed from his post due to pressure from ‘certain quarters’.
“Gondal was removed for misreporting an incident in which police officials misbehaved with a citizen,” the IGP had said in his statement.
The police chief, however, had not mentioned whether the citizen was Maneka or someone else.
IGP Imam had further stated that an inquiry had been initiated against Gondal for allegedly misrepresenting the notification of his transfer on social media.